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The MobyGames Standards and Practices

(updated 30 Dec 2013)

Contents

Game Standards

Focus

Currently MobyGames is focused on documenting most aspects of information related to electronic games (mostly computer/console/handheld but this scope is always expanding). We track pretty much anything that has been "released". A game is considered "released" if, at some point in its life, it is distributed in the manner intended by property owner. Some examples:

  • A shareware game is released when the author(s) upload it to a BBS.
  • A free(ware) game is released when it is available for download from a website.
  • A commercial game is released when it is available for a fee, regardless of the transport mechanism (CDROM in a retail store, cell phone download, etc.)
Homebrew policy: Homebrew games are accepted. Homebrews are new games, commercial or free, that have been released beyond the usual lifecycle of a platform and can be played on the platform's original hardware. Emulator-only games (a game that runs on an emulator but '''not''' on its native platform) are '''not''' allowed, however.

Noted games we do not currently document:
  • Game mods or games using the same game engine without official intellectual property rights permission from the copyright holder.
  • A game that runs on an emulator but not on its native platform is not allowed.
  • Platform independent games.
  • Pirated games - any pirated game or cartridge is '''not''' an official release, regardless of the packaging and method of distribution. It is commercial property distributed without the knowledge or consent of the owner, and we won't track such releases. Re-releases are fine -- an official agreement has been made with whoever owns the property.

Summary

Main Title

  • Primary title should be the title of the earliest US release (non-working title). If there is no US release then the UK title or an English title should be used. Outside of this it should be the original release title no matter the origin.

  • Titles should match the cover art as close as possible, such as using the Roman numeral II when it is shown and not substituting a 2 in place of it. This also includes special characters (ex. Pokémon, limited by Unicode of course).

  • When there is a main title with subtitles and chapters it should in this format Title: Subtitle - Chapter ie Star Wars: Return of the Jedi - Death Star Battle

  • Format of Special Edition releases like Hardened Edition when it refers to a special release of the original game this format is used: Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Hardened Edition). When the edition refers a new (after the original release) collection (compilation), this format is used: Death to Spies: Gold Edition

  • The first and last words in an English title begins with a capital letter, unless the cover art or documents clearly state otherwise. Words such as “a,” “an,” “and,” “at,” “but,” “by,” “for,” “in,” “nor,” “of,” “on,” “or,” “so,” “the,” “to,” “up,” and “yet” are not written with a capital letter unless it's the first word in the title, subtitle or chapter.

  • Other languages do not necessarily have the same capitalizations as in English.

Alternate Titles

  • Alt titles should be in the form: Name Description - title such as THUG - Abbreviated title

  • The word "title" or "spelling" in an alternate title starts with a lowercase letter.

  • Allowed alt titles:
    • Name of game on a different platform that is different from the main title: Platform title ie PS title.

    • Official foreign titles of the game, should be in the form: Nationality title ie Japanese title.

    • Titles written in a non-Latin script should be in the form: Nationality spelling i.e. Japanese spelling in order to differentiate from transliterated titles (Nationality title).
    • Name of game is different for a re-release but is the essentially the same game.

    • Informal titles with proof that it is used.

    • Official abbreviations of the title.

    • In-game, Title Screen and Manual titles (In-game title, Title Screen title, Manual title).

    • Tag-lined titles, e.g. Fallout 2: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game (Tag-lined title)

    • The actual foreign language characters seen on a foreign cover should be used.

    • Alt titles not allowed:
      • Full title - the full title should be the main title so it should not appear as an alt title, a correction should be submitted for these instead.

      • US title - US titles should be the main title and not an alt title, a correction should be submitted to swap the titles with the foreign main title. The only exception is when a US title is not used for all listed platforms, e.g. US Wii title for a multiplatform entry.

      • Translations of a title (can be added as trivia)

      • Alternate ways of spelling a title like: Space Quest 5 in-place of Space Quest V.

      • Substrings of names like: Nations for Rise of Nations.

      • Filenames of a game: doom.exe (can be added as trivia)

    New Entry

    Basically we're documenting how you can obtain a game, ie the game was released as a vanilla version and a collector's edition, and later in a compilation. Each of these should have its own entry except the one included in the compilation which needs to be listed in that compilation.

    Therefore, add a new entry for a game if:

    • There is no entry for the game on the site yet.
    • There is a game already listed with the same name but the one to be entered is a different game. This includes re-makes of originals that fit the different game criteria.
    Different game: When either game play, perspective, and/or storyline are different than the existing entry. Graphics/Sound that are merely improved are usually not a different game. This is of course evaluated on a case-by-case basis in comparison with other versions. Particular cases to be aware of are handheld versions of console or PC games which usually are different. In general, licensed titles (like those based on movies) often are different for different platforms, especially those released in the late 80s/early 90s. If you are not sure that a certain version of a game is the same as another, don't assume it is - always try to confirm it by playing it yourself or reading reviews.
    • Special version/edition of a regular game. Gold Edition / Platinum Edition / Game of the Year Edition etc...
    • Compilation of games.

    If a game is ONLY released in a compilation it does NOT get its own entry. It is only listed as an included game. If the game is later released on its own then it should have its own entry. Budget re-releases do not warrant a new game entry either, even when it is slightly different because it has been patched. This can be submitted as trivia.

    Additional Platform (aka Port)

    • This is if there is a port of an existing entry and does not meet the different game criteria above.

    Descriptions

    • Descriptions should stand on their own! Linking to other titles is allowed and encouraged, however a game description should not be dependant on knowledge of another, different game (even if in the same series). The exception is compilations and bonus content editions (see below).
    • Descriptions should be written in your own words. We want to avoid any possible accusations of plagiarism, thus we do not allow descriptions that are taken from other sources, even the official game page with permission.
    • The description can be based on and of course contain key elements of other game descriptions, but no copying word-for-word.
    • At the bare minimum, the description should describe game play and plot (if any).
    • Better than the bare minimum, the description can describe a game's setting and story, game play (and objectives) as well as details about player controls, enemies, levels, as well as anything that makes the game unique.
    • Descriptions should be objective. Saying "This game is the best street fighter" should not appear in a game description. It is much better suited for a review. Basically, if there's an opinion involved, it sets off an approver's radar to make a judgment.
    • Descriptions should not be time based. Words such as "the latest", "current" or "the newest" to describe features should also be disallowed. Remember that this game description might still be sitting around 2 or 10 years from now.
    • Descriptions should not contain spoilers. This is of course on a case-by-case basis, but it's generally a good idea to avoid describing any important plot that will occur farther than the first 30 minutes of game play.
    • A description should describe as many aspects of the game as possible. For example, if most of the game is a side scroller but it contains some flying levels, those too should be described (also keeping in mind the spoiler rule). In another words, games contain more than their first few levels and game descriptions should be as complete to describing the whole of the game as possible.
    • Not understanding the language of a game (Japanese for instance) is no excuse for a bad description. In most cases, research can be done to figure out what's going on with elements that are not understood (usually story or menu options).
    • Descriptions should have moby tags to other games when they are mention even if the game is not on the site yet. DO NOT link to other sites' entries of games, this it totally unacceptable.
    • Platform specific information should be left out of the description field whenever possible. This includes information such as "Can connect to a Nintendo DS to exchange monsters" as well as "utilizes the z80 chip for music" or even "This game uses it's own custom memory manager and EMM386.exe must be disabled." Basically it looks really silly when we have information like this in a game's description and then later on, we find it's been ported to another system. Information like this can usually be redirected into the Technical Specs sheet or as Trivia.
    • Information referring to specific systems; such as hardware capabilities (including input devices) and programming/OS tricks should be left out of game descriptions whenever possible (and assigned to a more appropriate area: Be it tech specs or trivia or etc.)
    • An exception to information referring to platform specific info is when there are slight differences in the game versions ie a game is made for Xbox, PS2, and GameCube, you should list the slight differences if any between these versions.
    • Descriptions for special editions of a vanilla version should list what is different and/or extra content included.
    • Descriptions for compilations needs to at least list the games and link to them.
    • For constistancy's sake, most games should open up with a brief description of the game's plot or setting (usually "the story at the beginning", remember to avoid spoilers), followed by actual description of gameplay and in-game elements. While some may feel the story is not important, the consensus is that descriptions are enhanced by having this information available.

    Example Description

    Lots of games are bland and simple. But many of them can still create a good description with a little effort. More than a few people have trouble writing informative descriptions for their favorite games. Part of the problem might be becoming so familiar that one can forget individual elements. Along those lines, here are some good questions to ask when writing the description:

    • What storyline/plot does the game present?
    • Who does the player control? What abilities/controls does this character have?
    • What kind of power-ups or upgrades might be found?
    • What kinds of enemies or obstacles get in the way of the players?
    • Where will the action be taking place? What are some of the levels that will be visited?
    • Are there any "sequences" or "mini-games" that play different from the majority of the game?
    • Is there anything that makes this game stand-out or be different from similar games in it's genre?

    The following is a description for the game Super Mario Bros. This is a game that's very well known and is considered "simplistic" by many, amounting to basically jumping over enemies and collecting power-ups. Watch how that's expanded into two paragraphs:

    "Plumbers Mario and Luigi discover a mysterious doorway into the Mushroom Kingdom. Once there, they discover a world in peril as King Bowser has been terrorizing everyone with his band of monster and even kidnapped Princess Toadstool. Bravely setting off to rescue her, the plumbers only know that the princess must be in one of eight different castles.
    Mario Bros is a side-scrolling platform game. where Mario's (or Luigi in a 2 player game) primary weapon is his jumping ability. By landing on the heads of enemies, he can dispatch most foes. Finding Question Boxes unveils power-ups such as the Magic Mushroom which makes him grow twice the size, a Fire Flower which gives him the ability to shoot fireballs, a 1-Up which will add an additional life or a Starman may also be found for invulnerability. Mario also collects coins during his adventure, 100 of which will gain him an extra life. Touching an enemy (or falling down a hole) while original size will defeat Mario. If Mario has a power-up, touching an enemy will cause him to lose it and shrink him down to his original size. Mario will travel across 8 worlds on his quest to find the princess. Some of these levels will take him underground or underwater. The third level of each world is a castle where Mario must confront and defeat King Browser on a bridge crossing over molten lava."

    Examples of bad descriptions

    Descriptions with flaws such as these should be replaced as soon as possible, and new descriptions should avoid these failings:

    Dark Reign: The Future of War:
    "A revolutionary RTS game. It put you in the role of commander of either the Imperial army or the Freedom fighters in a campaign to underminde and eventualy destroy the opposing force.//This game has many features still lacking from today's RTS games. Things like different AI paterns that allowed you to simply give a unit the order "Search and Destroy" and it would drive off towards the enemies last know location in search for something to kill. Or a "explore" mode which let your units do all the tedious map exploring for you. All this coupled with a great campaign, good variety of multiplayer maps and a mission/campaign editor made it a landmark RTS. If only it hadn't been released around the same time as Total Annhilation...." too opinionated - feelings like these shoould be entered into reviews

    Silent Hill:
    "Harry Mason, an average man, is driving to the town of Silent Hill with his daughter. Upon approaching the town, a cop speeds by on a motorcycle. When Harry gets closer to town, he sees that same motorcycle sprawled in the middle of the road. Harry also spots a woman standing in the road, but due to the dense fog, he can't stop in time, so he swerves to avoid her, crashing into a railing, knocking him unconscious.//When Harry wakes up, his daughter, Cheryl, is missing. Sensing that she would head to the town to seek help, Harry sets out on a journey, not knowing what to expect from this eerie town, enshrouded with fog.//You play Harry Mason, a normal man, with no powers or training of any kind. You must search through the town of Silent Hill, looking for your daughter. You will come across many people, some friendly, some not. You must visit many different areas, such as the school, and the church.//Will Harry find his daughter and safely get out, or is there more to this town than a simple fog layer?" only describes the background story, not the game play elements

    Agile Warrior:
    "Despite achieving record kill ratios with unsurpassed precision during Desert Storm, the United States Air Force retired it's entire squadron of F-111 Fighter-bombers in 1995.//With dozens of international conflicts on the rise, and the increasing proliferation of nuclear and chemical weapons to terrorists nations, the Air Force needed a new multi-role, first strike warplane for it's covert operations.//This new fighter would combine the YF-23's high performance airframe, the X- 31's thrust-vectoring maneuverability, and the F-111's superior terrain and weapon-guidance systems.//Now, anywhere in the world, this first-strike aircraft would be deployed into the most dangerous military war zones, and became known to the brave pilots who flew her as the Agile Warrior.". Four paragraphs about a new plane. Appears to be talking about a computer game of some kind, but isn't clear about this. Game play details needed.

    Archimedian Dynasty:
    "You are Emerald "Dead Eye" Flint, an underwater mercenary in the 27th century. Equip your ship, form alliances, and trade your wares in this futuristic world. You travel in your personal sub through 60 different missions. Along the way, a sinister plot comes up, and you must be the person to bring it to a halt." far too vague about game play details - although not saying to much about the 'sinsister plot' is good, to avoid spoilers

    Full Metal Planete
    "Tie-in of the rather unknown but truly brilliant board game of the same name. Up to four players land on a planet with their motherships, trying to gather as much ore as possible within 24 game rounds.//This almost sounds like a happy, idyllic round of pick-the-flowers... if it wasn't for the truckload of tanks and destroyers that each players happens to have in the cargo area of his mothership. So the players usually spend an equal amount of time picking up ore and bashing their contenders' heads in.//The computer game is an extremely accurate conversion of the board game - virtually every aspect has been taken care of.//What's especially refreshing about this game is that it does not rely on luck - it's pure strategy. The only semi-random thing are the tides (high tide, low tide, and something inbetween) which can strand boats and engulf tanks, but even they can be partially predicted."" Subjective, and mentions that the board game is little-known, and that this is an exact conversion, but doesn't describe the game too well

    Pole Position:
    "Early racing game, a conversion of the arcade classic. Race as far as you can against other cars before time runs out." the game isn't quite this simple - can at least describe perspective and controls, and detail parts of the route

    Genres

    Here is a current Genres Listing

    • Licensed titles include anything using the name and likeness of a famous modern-day figure, and games linked to sports organizations which feature real-life team names.
    • Also note that Intellectual Property which has become public domain is most likely not considered a "Licensed Title". This would include characters/stories whose copyright has expired (e.g. authors of a century ago), as well as recent authors who have freely given the right for their intellectual property to be used in this manner.
    • Compilations: No basic genre will be listed unless:
      • The compilation is a series of games
      • Genres that are common to each game included may be listed
      • The compilation is specifically marketed for a particular genre ie: Best of Sierra: Strategy

    Credits

    Giving credit where credit is due.

    Overall

    • All credits should be entered as listed in the manual and/or in-game as close as possible.
    • Credits entails the people and companies listed in the credits section of the game - manual/in-game, beginning of the game and if verified and approved by an admin uncredited people who were left out.
    • Music credits can be entered into the system but note that music groups/bands are to be listed as entities. At a later date we may make a separate music section.
    • The legal mumbo-jumbo as the end of the manual where it may say this engine licensed to... can be left out of the credits submission.
    • Although not mandatory, in-game screenshots or scanned manual credits are greatly encouraged. This will help approvers verify and double check your credit submissions for possible human error factors (typos, missing developer names, etc.) and make the approval process much faster.
    • All game entries are allowed to have credits with the exception of compilations UNLESS there are specific compilation credits.
    • Full credits should be added for each platform whenever possible. That means all the credits contained in the Amiga version of the game are eligible for submission in the Amiga section, even if those credits are the same people named on other versions of the game, already submitted (such as Commodore 64 or MS-DOS).
    • However, an exception exists: Sometimes credits will list titles such as "Amiga version by" or "Macintosh programming by" somewhere, and that same credits file is used for all versions of the game. That means that even though you might be playing (or reading the manual) to the MS-DOS version of the game, there might be a credit mentioning another platform such as the Amiga or the Macintosh. These particular credits should be omitted from the submission, i.e. no Amiga programming in DOS credits.
    • In the case where a game shows "Amiga version by" and other specific platform credits, the common or non-platform specific credits should appear in each platforms' credits.

    Groups

    • In many manuals and in-game credits are separated into sections by company. These are usually displayed in a different font (bold, larger text) than the rest of the credits. So you want to make groups based on the companies.
    • Sometimes the game credits will have sub-sections/groups within the groups. You might see something like this: Activision as a company and then a company's department Production, Marketing, Quality Assurance. For this you can either go without the sub-groups and add the credits under just the main company group or you can make several groups and go with Company - Production, Company - Marketing and so forth. The second might be better as we hope to add support for sub-groups someday.
    • Ignore all CAPS of groups listed in-game and manual, just enter as normal.

    Titles

    Title or role is what a person was credited as for contributing to the game.

    • The titles to a person, like Producer, Designer, should be in English, so if you have a German title it should be translated to English. You can either enter just the translated title or enter the original title with the translation in parenthesis German title (English translation).
    • Ignore all CAPS of people's titles listed in-game and manual, just enter as normal.
    • Break down credits from a larger title if possible. Sometimes you may encounter credits in the form:
    Animation - Name 1 (Lead Animator), Name 2 (Senior Animator), Name 3, Name 4...

    so this should entered into the system as:

    Lead Animator - Name 1
    Senior Animator - Name 2
    Animation - Name 3, Name 4...
    • A person credited for multiple titles, such as "Design and Programming by John Doe" should have that broken down into two titles:
    Design by John Doe
    Programming by John Doe
    • Combine credits that separated. In many cases there are other folks credited for the same position such as:
    Programming by Sarah Doe
    Lead Programmer John James
    Programming by Don Johnson

    These can be combined into:

    Lead Programmer - John James
    Programming by - Sarah Doe, Don Johnson
    (This is especially true when credits are listed alphabetically throughout)
    • If no credit title is available (usually the game was programmed by a single person) or if it only says "By xxx" or "Copyright xxx" (xxx referring to developer's name), then you can do the following:
    Use "By", "Written by", or "Programmed by" as the title credit and classify as Programmer

    Names

    The name of people associated to a title/role.

    • All credits need to be entered in the form First Middle Last(Surname).
    • Comments on people's names are allowed. These include nicknames ("Spider"), regular comments ("Thanks for the tacos") and additional information ("As the voice of Julius") if it is included in the manual.
    Note that while the engine itself does handle these, the "live java" entry method sometimes hiccups on these if apostrophes are used.
    There's also a minor bug where the comments can be lost if the user is adding a new person. The workaround is to refresh the page and add the person again, then removing the first name.
    • Peoples' official titles like Dr., Capt., Sgt.... can be entered, but should be added in the form of Joe Smith (Dr.).
    • Ignore all CAPS of people's names listed in-game and manual, just enter as normal.
    • Names in the form First "nickname" Last can either be entered in as: First and Last only and omit the nickname OR the nickname can be added as a comment ie. First Last (Nickname)
    • If you have sufficient evidence or suspicion that a developer name you added is different from a name already on file, add it as a "new developer".
    • Single word names like just Joe and Nicknames by themselves like Deathadder should be entered in as entities.
    • Famous people that have "stage names" or pseudonyms should be listed with the current stage name as the main name and their real name and other aka's as aka's.
      • Note though that there are some well known people that are credited as single word names that are usually added as akas to a real person, so you may want to do a site search with just the nickname and see if you get a hit to a real person such as Levelord.
      • Well known celebrities such as 50 Cent, Dr. Dre and the like are allowed to be entered as real people and not entities, if in doubt, make a note of the name in the comments to the approver.

    Order

    Order the credits to make them match as close as possible to the actual manual/in-game credits.

    • If you for some reason did not enter the credits as they appear in the manual then you will have to re-order them as needed.
    • Groups will be indent farthest left and will count off in tens. So Group 1 is 10, Group 2 is 20, and so forth. If you need to place Group 3 in-between 1 and 2 you would change the number to something between 10 and 20, so 11, 12, etc. Once that's done you would click Update and it would move.
    • Just like groups, titles and names of people can be re-ordered in the same numbering fashion.
    • If a number is locked - you cannot edit the number then you will have to manipulate the ordering of numbers around the locked number.

    Classification

    The system cannot decipher each and every title/role listed, so it is placed upon you help further separate them into our classification scheme.

    • Here is the Credits Classification List if you need help figuring out what to classify someone as. Many roles are not updated at this time but it's a good start for now.
    • If you are unsure regarding a particular Credits Classfication (and not available in the Credits Classification Help File), please add it as "Other --> Unknown" and submit a note of it to the approver via the comments section.

    Release Info

    • Company names should be listed with the right name corresponding to the release date. ie: Activision Publishing, Inc. should be the name used for games published after Jun 9, 2000 and not Activision, Inc.
    • Make sure company names are listed correctly according to the country/region. ie: Eidos Interactive Ltd. should be listed for games published in the UK and not Eidos Interactive, Inc. (This applies primarily to publishers and distributors)
    Note that some regional companies such as "EA Canada" and "EA Seattle" are developer studios/teams and not publishers. Verify the role.
    • Note: For game compilations, only the companies that pertain to that compilation should be listed. The developers of the games that are included should not be listed in the release info.
    • Release dates for games released in the last 4-5 years should have an exact date, there are a lot of sites to reference to find the date.
    • Almost always, if possible, mention in the "notes to approver comment box" a valid source of the release date ie publisher's website, etc.
    • Do not rely on one source for information, try to back it up with at least 2 to 3 more. Also bear in mind that a lot of smaller websites, as well as merchants (amazon.com, tigerdirect, etc) simply copy release information from larger websites. Be sure to use sources that are considered reliable.
    • Replacement information should include all the previous information listed that you are replacing. ie: If you have the date, Publisher, and Developer listed and say the Developer listed is wrong and you have 2 additional items to add, you would need to include the date, Publisher, corrected Developer and the other two items so a replacement could be made.
    • Only companies should be listed in the release info, people should not be made into companies and thus entered into the release info. Credits are for people. This is most often seen with older games where a single person made the game.
    • If only one person or a small group developed a game who were not employees of any company, the developer should be left blank. This is mostly for older games (1980s) or newer, independently developed games. For example, the first two Ultima games were developed solo by Richard Garriott before he founded his company Origin Systems, so they don't have a developer. Many British companies like Mastertronic, Ocean and Firebird/Rainbird published solo works from freelancers, these also shouldn't have one.

    • Sometimes small development groups are formed inside a company for specific projects. Examples include Hired Gun (part of Microsoft Game Studios, for the Windows port of Halo 2), Team Ico, Team Silent or Team Neo Blood. When the naming is official (not just a nickname) and used in press releases, company statements or inside the game, the team naming is respected and should be reflected in the release info item through a separate company entry. Even when it is about a single-project team. There are benefits to viewing games at a single, large company entry, but we pin-point them to the right team when the information is available. The link to the main company can be clarified in the company overview. Vague internal names such as Team Alpha and Team Beta working on the same game do not apply for this. When it is possible to pin-point development, for example for the Kuju Entertainment studios or the many SEGA and Nintendo development teams, this is encouraged. Even when it is not specifically stated specific development teams can sometimes be named by comparing developer names in the credits. Independently developed games where the developers choose a team name can have that name listed in release info items, even when it is not a full company or studio.

    • You can often check the credits of a game to find company names that apply to the release info (especially regarding Sound Engines, 3D Engines and other licensed components).
    • For more information regarding companies, see the Company Standards section.
    • Product codes are locked to release information. This is often important for European releases - the UK, German and French editions are often separate. These would require 3 different pieces of release information, often published or distributed by a different branch of the company, and with different product codes.
    • Worldwide should be marked as the release country if a game is released over the internet like these examples: a download via Steam, Live Arcade, and cell phone games. It should not be used just because a (physical media) release date is shared in different regions.
    • Other as a release country should only be marked if a country is not listed or perhaps a just a region is listed like Latin America. If a country is not listed then please add a comment to the approver on what the country is.
    • Games released on a content distribution system such as Steam can have that company credited as Distributed By (Distributed By: Valve). If available through purchase online without a box, they can also have the publishing credit (Published By: Valve). Though in many cases there will ALSO be a boxed copy being sold, publishers there may vary.
    • Why are some games marked as USA and Canada and Mexico and others only show one of these countries? Well, for as long as videogames have existed, North America has been under a free trade deal. What this means is that software created for one market (like the USA) can be assigned to retailers in that country as well as the others in North America (like Canada and Mexico). 80% of the games will share a release across borders (most commonly exported from the USA). So what's the reason why 20% of them might want unique releases? Well one reason is simply different distributor companies being involved. Another reason would be localization: The United States speaks mainly English but Canada also recognizes French as an official language and Mexico does the same for Spanish. Games being sold in those countries might be localized for the languages. A third reason, it might all be a marketing ploy to control and track how the software is sold.
    • Company roles:
      • Publisher: Typically the company that funds the development, markets the game, and supports it.
      • Developer: The company that "makes" programs and designs the game.
      • Additional Development: A company that assists in programming or designing the game. These companies are usually noted in the credits of the game.
      • Distributor: A company that actually ships the games to the retail stores. Many times each company will have individual subsidiary companies distribute the games based by country or region or companies will have agreements with local companies to distribute their games in a country. An example is Atari Japan KK distributes Atari games in Japan.

    Product Codes

    • Codes should be verified as best as possible.
    • It is possible to see different UPC codes for the same game in the same country. ie: some times a game will have one UPC for the west coast of the US and a different one for the east coast of the US.
    • It is possible to see UPC codes on European games as they are not US specific.
    • Make sure that the product entered pertains specifically to the release it is to be linked to. ie: a special release of a game probably does not have the same codes as the regular version of the game.
    • Codes are specific to release info on file, so if your code is for a UK release and only US release info is on file then you need to submit UK release info because matching the UK code to US info is wrong.
    • If a game was released on say floppy and CD in different packages with different codes, then there needs to be release info that corresponds to those versions so that you can correctly associate the codes to the correct release info. So the code for the floppy version would associate to the floppy release info and the CD code to the CD release info.

    Cover Art

    General Guidelines

    • Covers should be cropped so that there is no background shown.
    • Covers and media need be aligned as straight as possible.
    • Covers need to be scanned outside of the case if applicable.
    • Media shots, like CDs, should preferably have a white background.
    • A scan should not contain multiple pieces of cover ie the Front should only be the front without the back or spine and a media scan should only be one disk/c per scanned image.
    • Minimum resolution is 200 dpi.
    • Resizing of scans, up or down, should NOT be done.
    • Multiple media in a package should all be submitted unless they look exactly the same except for say the disc number. Even if the color of the disc is different that's enough to say it is different like the discs shown here.
    • Art from a compilation should not be submitted to an individual game entry, only to the compilation, ie Sims Unleashed disc in Sims Collection 1, the Sims Unleashed disc should only be submitted to the Sims Collection 1 entry and should not appear in the Sims Unleashed entry.
    • Art from OEM versions of games can be submitted to the individual game entry, ie Microsoft SideWinder OEM Version of MechWarrior 2.
    • Uploaded files must be submitted in either JPEG or PNG format.
    • Scans from the same package must be submitted as a single package. For instance, a Front Cover, Back Cover and a CD-ROM of a game are all part of the same package and should be grouped together. If you are scanning a box that also includes a Jewel Case, all scans box Front, box Back, Jewel Case - Front, Jewel Case - Back and CD-ROM should be grouped together in the same package. Additionally, the package should be listed as a box in this case since that's how the packaging was distributed.
    • The spine portions of packaging are not to be submitted. This includes the spines on jewel case cover, typically the spines are on the back cover and need to be cropped off.
    • We cannot permit the violation of Copyright laws. Images taken from other resources (like websites) without their express permission will be rejected.
    • Submissions may be rejected if the quality is poor, if the image is not appropriate, if a better cover is already on file, or if other factors warrant rejection.
    • The image shouldn't be edited in any way if at all possible.
      • Trixter says... "If you can clean it up because the scanner was bad or your copy is somewhat mangled, sure. If you're trying to clean up imperfections in the ORIGINAL, then no, leave it as is."
      • If there is some sort of CD-KEY or other registration number on the item you are scanning, make sure that you blank it out somehow before uploading it. If you leave the CD-KEY on there, it's possible that someone might steal that information. That would really suck for an online game where you might get shut out.
      • Correcting for known problems (such as a scanner highlighting everything with a certain color hue preference) in the scanning process is also allowed. However please make sure that you know what you're doing and correcting. And in most cases, the same change should probably be applied to every image you are scanning.

    Electronic Cover Art

    Games that this applies to would be games where there is no actual media and packaging. Games like Cell Phone games, Xbox Live, PC games that are only available through download, and other platforms to be added in the future.

    • Cover art for these games should come from the official publisher/developer.
    • Since there is no actual package a "digital" image is acceptable.
      • Some companies provide a type of "electronic cover" for their games, these are acceptable in the highest original resolution possible - do not resize up or down.
      • Some companies provide these on the site and/or in press kits.
      • Some companies do not provide these "covers" at all, currently no other image is acceptable.
      • Source of images is a requirement.
    • We are looking into accepting screenshots of the title image as an acceptable image in lieu of a "cover" if no cover image exists.
    • Images from sites other than companies involved with the game - fan site or media site is not acceptable.

    Package Description

      Comments about the package are optional. In most cases, comments are never needed so don't feel obligated to use the field. Most often the comments field is used to describe differences between different packages. If you are adding scans to a package that is already in MobyGames, you will not have the opportunity to update the package comments.

    • Things that should not be put into the package comments field include cover specific comments, geographical information, platform and video standard (NTSC/PAL) information.

      Examples of acceptable comments include:

      • Classic Release
      • Platinum Release
      • Greatest Hits Release
      • Version 1.50
      • Thrustmaster OEM Version

      NOTE: Release means another release other than the original with no basic change. Version refers to a specific change in the game, an updated version or specific to a piece of hardware it came with.

    • If a game was distributed in two different packages (one with a Black background and one with a white background) , you might label the comments "Black on White" version or "White on Black" version.

    • If a country is not listed then the appropriate country should be listed here.

    Platforms

      Sometimes you will be asked to select which version of a game is included in the package you are uploading scans for. If a game only has one platform or if you are adding scans to an existing package you will not be able to select the platforms. Most often packages only come with one version of the game, so 95% of the time you will only need to select a single platform. In the case of console systems (SNES, PlayStation, etc) this is almost always the case. Some games for computer systems would come with multiple releases inside, and in these cases you would select all of the platforms that are applicable to the package.

    Packaging

      Packaging describes how the overall product was packaged. Games are released in many different types of packages such as:

    • Box - Cardboard / metal - PC games and special packaging of console games.
    • Keep Case - DVD style - PS2 / Xbox / GameCube / PC games.
    • Slipcase - DVD style outer comes with inner fold out Digipak - PS2 / PC games.
    • Electronic - A downloadable "cover" in place of an actual package - PC / Wireless / Xbox Live games.
    • Jewel Case - Plastic CD case - Dreamcast and PSX games.
    • Cartridge Case - Hard plastic for carts - Genesis games
    • Sleeve - Paper / Plastic - OEM versions (bundled with hardware) of PC games.
    • Promotional - Electronic press release cover and/or actual mock packaging from the publisher. Third party promo is not acceptable. NOTE: These are temporary placeholders until actual cover art is on file and then the promo version will be removed.
    • Other - The ones that don't fall into the above.

    Video Standard

      For console systems you will probably be asked if the package is PAL or NTSC. PAL and NTSC refer to video standards used with televisions. Select the appropriate format. Usually this is printed right on the cover.

    • NTSC - North America and Japan (NTSC/J).
    • PAL - Europe and most of the world.

    Release Country

      MobyGames has a large collection of scans from different geographical regions around the world. In order to keep the information in MobyGames organized, we track geographical information about the package. When you upload scans of a package, it's important that you mark what countries that package were released in. Similar to Platforms, Release Country is most often a single country. In these cases, you should only select one country. Sometimes, games will be released in multiple countries with as a single package. This is most commonly the done in Europe where a multi-lingual package will be released in several countries. This is also done sometimes in North America.

    • If the package you are uploading is an imported game, make sure you select the country that the game was released in (i.e. imported from), not the country that you purchased it in.

    • If the country is not listed please mark Other and list the country in the Package Description.

    Scans Of (Types)

      Scans are classified by a scan type. This describes what part of the package is being scanned. Most commonly, scans are only submitted for the Front Cover, Back Cover, and Media.

    • Front Cover - The front of said package.
    • Inside Cover - The insides of a package, say a box that has a flap that opens, a jewel case inlay (under the disc holder of a clear case).
    • Back Cover - The back of said package.
    • Media - The floppy disk, disc (CD-ROM) or cartridge.
    • Other - Typically, in a Box package the game is in a Jewel Case, so this is what those scans would be of. Also, anything else that is not listed above. See Cover Comments below for proper Jewel Case comments.


      NOTE: Keep Case packaging has to be split into two parts - Front and Back.
      NOTE:
      At this time, no other items should be uploaded, i.e.: Manuals, included bonus items like a holographic card, Strategy Guides, etc...

    Cover Comments

      Like Package Comments, cover comments are also optional, and in most cases should not be used. The comments field is intended to store information that is not represented for this cover. Things like geographical information, platform, packaging, scan types and video standards should NOT be put into the Cover Comments. Try to keep the comments as brief and concise as possible.

      The typical comments that are used are:

    • Inside Cover - Box package - Left Flap, Right Flap, Center Flap, Far Left or Right Flap
    • Inside Cover - Jewel Case package - Left or Right Inlay

      NOTE: For a box package that has an inside cover, you must split the inside cover into a Left and Right. We no longer accept the whole inside scan as one.

      NOTE: If there is a single inlay for a jewel case then no comment is needed.

      NOTE: The back of a manual is fine as an inside inlay IF if directly pertains to the game, such things like ads for another game is not acceptable. This only applies to games that use the manual as the front cover of the jewel case vice a stand alone manual. This situation is mostly seen with US PSX, Dreamcast, and other games where the packaging is only the jewel case.

    • Media - Used to note the number of Media included. Disc 1/2 (CD-ROM #1 out of a 2 disc set).


      NOTE: If there is only one CD-ROM then no comment is needed i.e.: Disc 1/1. Also, do not describe the Media ie: Cartridge, this is self evident.

    • Other - Used to describe whatever the item is.
      - A sleeve will have a Keep Case in it, so the Keep Case would be under Other with the comments:
      • Keep Case - Front / Back
      • Keep Case - Inlay Left / Right

      - A slipcase will have a fold-out Digipak, so the Digipak would be under Other with the comments:

      • Digipak - Front / Back
      • Digipak - Inner Left / Right

      - A box usually has a Jewel Case, so the Jewel Case would be under Other with the comments:

      • Jewel Case - Front / Back
      • Jewel Case - Inlay
      • Jewel Case - Left / Right Inlay

    Overlays

    • There are two types of overlays we track here:
      • Controller overlays: Certain systems have overlays that lay over the controller to show you what buttons are for what function.
      • Screen overlays: Some old systems had overlays that were positioned over the screen to give the game a different color effect.

    Screenshots

    • Shots should be in the original resolution size.
    • It is acceptable to get screenshots from a video capture of the game at a resolution higher than the system supports. However, these can be replaced with original aspect screenshots.
    • There is a soft limit of 50 shots per platform, approvers can allow more if the game can be represented better with more shots. (Approvers should be becoming more critical around 30 screenshots and downright picky as it approaches 50. But it's not the end of the world if it goes over that limit by a little. Just make sure the shots are worth it.)
    • Screenshots should represent the original form of the game. This means that hacks, such as those to upscale the graphics or even to translate the language of the game are not accepted unless officially released by the developer/publisher. (In which case they're probably also a patch). This means no translation ROMs for Japanese games.
    Please refer to Resolution Table for acceptable resolutions.

    Extra images - coming soon

    Extra images are game related images that may be considered significant, interesting or important, but would not be classified as a screen shot, cover art, media, advertisement nor manual. Extra images may be console specific or cross platform. Images should be photographed or scanned at the clearest, highest resolution possible. A title and caption is required for each image. The caption should include a date whenever possibly. Optionally each image may have a description to describe in detail its significance.

    Feelies

    Feelies refer to extra objects included with the boxed version of a game. Feelies may include maps, figurines, dies, cards or any other extra physical objects. These extra objects and documents sometimes served as a form of copy prevention, as several games were impossible to solve without information found in their feelies. Images that circumvent copy protection will not be approved.

    Promotional

    Promotional refers to images of official promotional objects. Promotional images may include t-shirts, posters, key chains, hats, bags or any other object sold or given away by the developer or publisher to promote the game. Third person party and fan created promotional objects will not be approved.

    Awards

    Awards include images of physical awards for the game. Awards images may include plaques, statuettes, certificates or any other image of an award. Images of plaques commissioned for sales milestones such as gold and platinum sales are considered awards. Images of online only awards will not be approved at this time.

    Props

    Props include images of historically significant objects used in the creation and development of the game. Props include physical items used in modeling and motion capture, sets, locations and equipment.

    Other

    Other images are game related images that may be considered significant, interesting or important that do not fit into any category.

    MobyRank

    See the currently separate MobyRank FAQ page.

    MobyScore

    See the currently separate MobyScore FAQ page.

    Reviews

    • Avoid unnecessary profanity, and comments like "this game sucks ass" or "only a gaylord could enjoy this shit" - try to actually describe what you do and don't like about the game.
    • Points awarded for your review is based on the overall quality of work and amount of time spent on the review and not on the content in the review.
    • Please check and re-check your spelling and/or grammar in your reviews. Too many spelling and grammar errors will prompt approvers to WIP your reviews back to you. If you are a non-English native speaker and have trouble with grammar issues, please notify us of this in the "comments to approvers box" so we can make necessary adjustments to your review submission.

    Example of a 5 point review - http://www.mobygames.com/game/windows/silent-hill-2-restless-dreams/reviews/reviewerId,23201

    Example of a 1 point review:

    Summary
    One of the freakiest games I've ever played.

    The Good
    I liked pretty much everything about the game. I loved the pyramid head boss. There was so much to do in the game on so many different levels. If you consider this boring then you must think The Matrix is boring. You weren't done after beating it once. There are several different endings, and secret items, and well you'd be crazy to hate this game.

    The Bad
    The sound effects were a bit too over the edge.

    The Bottom Line
    A great game, one of Konami's finest since Metal Gear

    Tech Specs

    • Games released in 1988 were not written to suit an operating system released in 1989.
    • Most games should have minimum system requirements listed on the packaging. Most of the items listed will match-up to selections we have.
    • Other types of technical attributes are also listed here, such as: password support, number of players supported, sound capabilities, and many more.
    • Additional information not available from the drop selection boxes, such as minimum Hard Drive space, minimum 3D Video Card requirements, or other technical requirements may be added in the Notes box.
    • Identify a source on where you obtained these technical specifications in the notes to approver.

    Rating Systems

    • If a game was rated at the time of release then there should be some sort of rating symbol of the packaging.
    • If an organization rated a game when it was first released and then the rating organization changed its rating system and thus changing the ratings of older games, the original rating should stay and not be changed to the new system.
    • We accept all types of official government and non-government rating systems.
    • Ratings systems by a media outlet, like a website, are not included.
    • Ratings systems by a publisher are not included. The only exception being the 3DO rating system since it was before any real organization rated games.
    • If a rating system is not covered on the site then please let us know.

    Trivia

    • Should not repeat what is stated elsewhere.
    • Trivia can be revised, so instead of adding a new trivia item please add new trivia by revising the existing one.
    • If there is trivial information in a description you are encouraged to revise the description to remove the trivial info and add to the existing trivia by revising it or submit as trivia if none exist yet.
    • Since users might not want to read reviews, trivial items in reviews can be submitted as trivia.
    • If a trivia comment could be applied to dozens of games, it should only be added if there is something unique about that aspect for this game.
    • If a trivia item applies to a game series, add it to the game group description
    • Game re-issued/re-released information should be submitted as game release information and not as trivia.
    • Easter Eggs in a game should be submitted as a hint - there is an Easter Egg selection there.
    • Lists of systems a game was released for are also pointless, even if those machines have not yet been added to the database, as they will one day.

    Tips & Tricks

    This is where you can contribute Hints, Tips, Cheats, Walkthroughs etc., not request them.
    • Hints and tips - anything that will help a person to get past particular portions of the game and special techniques to use.
    • Walkthroughs - a detailed guide to get a person through the whole game and/or certain levels/stages.
    • Cheat Codes - codes to the game to unlock items and such that allow you to cheat. Codes for third party items like GameShark is not acceptable.
    • Easter Eggs - hidden message or feature in the game, different than a cheat code as that allows you to cheat.

    Advertising Blurb

    • Match the original advertising as closely as possible, including text size and case.
    • Acceptable sources:
      • Back Cover of the Box/Case
      • Game publisher's catalog
      • Official ad of the game in print media
      • Press releases
    • Unacceptable sources:
      • Specific store advertisements

    Links

    • Needs to pertain to the game.
    • Acceptable sources:
      • Official game sites
      • Fan sites
      • Interviews with key people about the game

    Developer Standards

    Name

    • Full name of developer should be the primary name unless the developer contacts us otherwise.
    • Nicknames like Joe "The Man" Smith can be added as an AKA and but not as the primary name.
    • Misspellings of names should not be an AKA.
    • Names in foreign characters such as Kanji may be entered as AKAs in the fashion they are normally written, ie in Kanji the Last name is listed first vice the First name. Also list as a single name.
    • Names that are without foreign or special characters should not be an AKA.
    • Famous people that have "stage names" or pseudonyms should be listed with the current stage name as the main name and their real name and other AKA's as AKA's.
    • Single word names like just Joe and Nicknames by themselves like Deathadder should be entered in as entities.
      • Note though that there are some well known people that are credited as single word names that are usually added as akas to a real person, so you may want to do a site search with just the nickname and see if you get a hit to a real person such as Levelord.
      • Well known celebrities such as 50 Cent, Dr. Dre and the like are allowed to be entered as real people and not entities, if in doubt, make a note of the name in the comments to the approver.

    Biography

    • Bios should be written in the third person even if the developer them self is adding the bio.
    • Bios should not contain a list of games to their credit as that's what the site is for... auto generating the list for them.

    Sites

    • Needs to pertain to the person, like a personal site and not companies they work for or their "favorites".
    • Links to other big sites that do not link to MobyGames like IMDb.com is not allowed. The exception for IMDB is if it's an actor.
    • Bios shouldn't list time notions such as "for 10 years" or "3 months ago" as these are time-relative. Use fixed dates such as "since 1992" instead.

    Portraits

    • At least a year as to when the pic was taken is needed as a caption ie circa 2003.
    • The person's name alone is not allowed, that's self evident from the Rap Sheet.
    • When multiple persons are in a single picture, include notions such as "left", "second from the right" to point to the correct developer.
    NOTE: If a developer contacts us and makes certain requests, like removing particular items from their page, not having a bio, want their name displayed a certain, this trumps the above rules.

    Company Standards

    Name

    • The current "legal" name of the company is the primary name ie Activision Publishing, Inc. and is not Activision Inc.
    • AKAs should be official names the company was once named with dates when it was used, ie Infogrames -- Company name prior to 7 May 2003.
    • Official abbreviations of companies' names are allowed but should not be used for release info ie EA

    Overview

    • Company overviews are meant to give a run-down of a company's activities through time. This includes history items, important games and internal changes. Detailed overviews often give a year-by-year overview, but every tidbit helps.
    • A lot of company websites have an overview available, but these contain a lot of overly subjective statements and sales figures. An overview should be as objective as possible, except for statements considered general truth.
    • Moby tags should be used to link to games, people and other companies, even if they are not yet listed on the site.

    Example of a good detailed overview: http://www.mobygames.com/company/atari-europe-sasu

    Example of a good short overview: http://www.mobygames.com/company/digital-illusions-canada-inc/overview

    History

    • Company history should at least include an accurate year. Specifically for company founding/establishment, should include if available State/Province and Country of the company in question.
    • Please add a source for company history information in the comments to approver box.

    Logos

    • Logos should be taken from press release images whenever possible. If no press release image is available, they should be taken from screenshots. Alternatively cover art may be used.
    • Only the logo is what we're looking for. In some cases this may mean cropping the logo from a full size screenshot or cover scan.
    In one case, a game started up by showing a company logo atop a full-screen "thinking man" who sat on a pedestal in front of a star-filled moonlight setting. It was a nice image but not really needed, and so the logo text was cropped and submitted.
    • The logo dates should apply to when it was seen being used. The best we can do in some cases is detail the date the logo is from (usually by the release info of the game). Please list the game in question in the notes to approvers.
    • Notes to identify company logo dates:
      • If you're lucky, the company website may provide information regarding their use of company logos. If so, this information is usually provided in either "Company Information" or "About Us" links. This information is usually rarely provided however.
      • The next best way is by comparing release date information by the company. Some games in the database "may" still have company screenshots available (though this is usually for older or earlier game submissions to the database). Or better still, the company logo is viewable in the cover art (if available) so you can notice any difference/changes to the company logo. The only downside of this technique is that not all games by the company in question may be available in the database, thus may not provide 100% accurate information.
      • Last resort in acquiring logo dates is by referring to the company's date of birth or official company establishment. This is noticeably not very accurate.

    Trivia

    • Company trivia should be limited to any interesting/unique details regarding the company in question that may need highlighting. Historical facts with available dates however, should be submitted in the "History" section.
    • For now information like stock symbol, present and previous address information, contact numbers are acceptable here.

    Sites

    • Official company websites should not be submitted as a new link here. They are stored in a separate field of the database that is only accessed by admins. Submit a correction if you want to add the company page that is lacking or changed address.

    • Defunct company websites or other dead links can be reported through the corrections system. Official company websites that are gone are removed from the system, but the address should be submitted as a company trivia item to make sure relevant information can still be retrieved through archive.org. If there already is a company trivia item present detailing contact information, submit a company trivia correction to have the (defunct) company website listed there.

    • Sites interviews about the company and not particular games are fine.

    • Fan sites of the company are fine.
    After reading all this, if you still questions or concerns you can visit the MobyGames.com message board and post a message there or email us at [email protected].